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ishida >> writing

Use of link element to point to translations

The HTML specification suggests that the link element can be used by search engines to find alternate translations of the current page. Some browsers expose the link information on the user interface.

Andrew Cunningham and I wrote a test for this. The test is written in XHTML 1.0 and served as text/html.

Here is a summary of the results of some brief testing of mainstream browsers on Windows XP. I may update this as additional information becomes available.

Results

IE 6.0

This version of IE does not expose the link information on the user interface.

Mozilla 1.7.2

This version of Mozilla exposes the link information in View > Page Info > Links and via a navigation toolbar.

Page Info: All alternate links are listed. Neither information in the title nor hreflang attributes is shown - just the URI.

How it looks on Mozilla 1.7.2.

Toolbar: Links are listed under More > Other Versions.

All alternate links are listed, including those with duplicate URIs.

The information in the title attributes is shown, and the Arabic runs from right to left.

The hreflang information for fr, ar, es and en is converted to English words. I didn't test this on a non-English interface.

hreflang information for fr-CH and the non-existent zz language was missing, but a semicolon still appeared between the empty location of the hreflang information and the title information.

No hreflang information was shown for ja.

Firefox 0.9.3

Out of the box, this version of Firefox only exposes the link information in View > Page Info > Links.

All alternate links are listed. Neither information in the title nor hreflang attributes is shown - just the URI.

Firefox 0.9.3 with Link Toolbar Extension 0.8

This version of Firefox exposes the link information in View > Page Info > Links and with version 0.8 of the Link Toolbar extension via a navigation toolbar.

Page Info: All alternate links are listed. Neither information in the title nor hreflang attributes is shown - just the URI.

How it looks on Firefox 0.9.3 with Link Toolbar extension v0.8.

Toolbar: Links are listed under Other Versions after clicking on the folder icon.

All alternate links are listed except that for 'fr2', where the href URI is a repeat of that in a previous link.

The information in the title attributes is shown, where the link item is shown, and the Arabic runs from right to left.

No hreflang information is shown. [Note: This is different from earlier versions of the link toolbar extension.]

Opera 7.54

This version of Opera does not expose the link information related to alternative translations, even though it exposes other link information such as 'top' and 'next' in Navigation > Site Navigation, and in a navigation toolbar.

Netscape Navigator 7.1

This version of Navigator only exposes the link information in View > Page Info > Links out of the box.

All alternate links are listed. Neither information in the title nor hreflang attributes is shown - just the URI.

Points of note

Opera and IE don't play this game at all.

Mozilla, Firefox and Navigator provide the information in the Page Info dialog box, but only the first two do so in a toolbar (although you need an extension for Firefox).

Regarding toolbar display for Mozilla and Firefox (with extension), both display title attribute information for the links in the toolbar, but Firefox doesn't show items with duplicate URIs. Firefox 0.9.3 doesn't display hreflang information at all, and Mozilla's display of it is variable.

Links

Author: Richard Ishida.

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Content created 10 August, 2004. Last update 2004-08-12 07:36 GMT

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